Mothers boycott Flora margarine after it pulls its adverts from Mumsnet in 'transaphobia' row

Daily Mail Online 1 day ago
Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet, accused the Flora brand of caving in
Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet, accused the Flora brand of caving in

The makers of Flora face a furious backlash after the company stopped advertising on Mumsnet because campaigners claimed the parenting website was transphobic.

Mothers across Britain are now boycotting the firm that owns the margarine brand, which had responded to complaints by a 'handful' of transgender activists.

Firmly denying that they are transphobic, the founders of Mumsnet insist that they are simply defending the right to free speech.

Mumsnet was set up to allow parents to share tips or stories and boasts ten million users. 

Its online discussion board has been a platform for transgender issues, particularly relating to the growing number of children now declaring a wish to change sex.

Last night, dozens of women vowed to stop buying Flora or any other product sold by the company, Upfield, which also sells I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!.

Deborah Barker commented on Twitter: 'I am wholly committed to free speech and mothers/women freedom to discuss issues which pertain to them and have decided to boycott @Flora. I was a pretty loyal customer with two teenage boys, but I cannot buy from companies that support the silencing of #women.'

Another angry Mumsnet user declared: 'Well it's no great loss to Flora is it. I mean women are only responsible for the majority of the household budgeting/shopping etc. And there's only a few million of us on here.'

Upfield's decision was announced on Friday after campaigners for transgender rights said they would stop buying Flora while it was linked to the parenting website.

One activist Helen Islan, who uses the pseudonym Mimmymum on Twitter, tweeted: 'I like Flora but there is absolutely no way I am going to buy it while it is partnering with Mumsnet which platforms nasty, trans-hostile posts on its website.'

Ms Islan was previously embroiled in controversy after complaints she made to police about a transsexual, Miranda Yardley, resulted in Britain's first hate crime prosecution. The case was thrown out and costs awarded to Yardley.

Within an hour of Ms Islan's comment about Flora, Upfield responded online saying it took its 'human rights and diversity policies very seriously' and had started an investigation. 

Transgender rights campaigners made claims that Mumsnet was hosting 'nasty, trans-hostile posts' and just a day later Flora had removed its adverts from the parenting site
Transgender rights campaigners made claims that Mumsnet was hosting 'nasty, trans-hostile posts' and just a day later Flora had removed its adverts from the parenting site

The next day the firm released a statement telling its customers: 'We've investigated. We are wholly committed to our values, which include treating everyone equally, so have made the decision to no longer work with Mumsnet.' 

Last night, Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts accused the brand of bowing to pressure from 'a handful of activists on Twitter'. 

She added: 'Mumsnet has turned down hundreds of thousands of pounds of advertising over the years from companies which we feel don't make parents' lives easier, so we're well used to putting purpose before profit. I do think in the end consumers will value companies which show a bit of backbone.'

Laura Perrins, co-editor of online magazine The Conservative Woman, said: 'It is a ridiculous decision that will have a chilling impact on free speech. 

'Upfield are bowing to an extremist view if they think you can't discuss these matters on an internet forum. If people want to, they should make their feelings known with a boycott of their own.'

Kiri Tunks, co-founder of Women's Place UK, which opposes the introduction of 'self-identification laws for transgender people', said: 'It's disappointing to see a company try to bully a women's online forum simply because women talk freely about politics and feminism there.'

Karen Ingala-Smith, chief executive of a women's domestic violence charity in London, said: 'I find the expectation that women who share motherhood don't have the right to talk about anything political beyond motherhood absolutely sexist, patriarchal nonsense. 

'I'd be delighted to see women voting with their purses to show Flora that if they choose not to support their right to speak, women will fight back.'

A spokesman for Upfield said: 'We are wholly committed to our values which includes treating everyone equally. We feel more could be done to moderate online discussion and tackle discriminatory posts.' 

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